House Speaker Paul Ryan addressed questions Tuesday about President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring travel and refugee resettlement from seven majority-Muslim countries, calling the rollout of the statute “regrettable” while insisting the merits of it were appropriate.
“So first off, I had a long talk with Secretary Kelly yesterday, and I’m pleased and confident that on a going forward basis, he’s going to make sure things are done correctly,” Ryan said at House Republicans’ weekly news conference, referring to the Homeland Security secretary.
“Look, the president has a responsibility to securing this country,” he added.
The executive order imposed a 90-day suspension of travel from Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya — all countries previously identified by President Barack Obama’s administration as terror hotspots. It also suspended refugees from those countries from entering the country for a 120-day timeframe.
The order also was interpreted to include a ban of those who hold legal permanent residency in the US — known as green-card holders. It led to widespread confusion at major airports over the weekend, leading to legal permanent residents being detained. On Sunday, Kelly ordered green-card holders from the countries to be allowed into the US.
Federal judges in four states issued a temporary stay Saturday preventing authorities from deporting travellers who were stuck in airports because of the order, but the long-term legality of the measure remains unclear.
“I think it’s regrettable that there was confusion on the rollout of this,” Ryan said Tuesday. “No one wanted to see people with green cards or special immigrant visas like translators get caught up in this. And so I think … regrettably, the rollout was confusing. But on a go forward basis, I’m confident that Secretary Kelly is going to make sure this is done correctly.”
“I had a very good conversation with Secretary Kelly to separate fact from myth,” he continued. “Clearly we don’t want to see anyone stopped with green card.”
Ryan also said the “rhetoric surrounding” the executive order “could be used as a recruiting tool” by terror organisations such as ISIS, adding, “I think that’s dangerous.”
But Ryan also said the pause was necessary from a security standpoint.
“We need to pause and we need to make sure that the vetting standards are up to snuff so we can guarantee the safety and security of our country,” he said. “That is what this does. We want that goal to be achieved.”
“I support the refugee resettlement program,” he continued. “We’re a generous country, it’s important. But we can be generous and watch our national security at the same time. That’s why I’m confident that Secretary Kelly along with other Cabinet members will have the proper review and vetting.”
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